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Cooling tower upgrade and frequency inverter drives

Client profile:

The building itself is owned and occupied by a major UK supermarket; in 1992 they became the largest grocery retailer in the UK. Today our customer is still competing as one of the top three supermarkets in Britain and has over 1,000 stores. Our work on site was provided by the incumbent Facilities Management Company.


The project:

The incumbent Facilities Management Company asked Gibbons to undertake an assessment of the existing cooling tower HVAC plant. We were asked to assess conditions and energy-saving opportunities. Using sophisticated equipment, the vibration levels of the fans were measured and the airflows confirmed.

Gibbons identified that the fans had reached an age and condition that was beyond economical repair.

In terms of control, we identified that there were many occasions when the fan motors did not need to run at full speed. This proved to be an ideal opportunity to make use of frequency inverter drives. Using the drives, a 20% reduction in fan speed provides a 50% saving in power.

As the towers were in good order and undergoing an overhaul themselves, we determined that we could replace the scroll fans and accompany this with a set of variable-speed drives. Gibbons undertook a full package of work removing the old fans, designing and manufacturing new steel fan frames, supplying and installing the VSD drives and making necessary modifications to the MCC panels.


This was undertaken on a rolling programme so as to allow the facility to remain operational at all times. On completion the drives were set up with our specialist drive care.

If you would like more details, or to discuss new opportunities please do not hesitate to contact Andrew Knight on 07850204915 or email

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  • Date: 24 April 2014 Richard Betts
    Debris contamination in fill ponds increases the biological sludge that bacteria feed upon. This can be minimised by fitting air intake screens to the cooling towers. Keep the contamination outside in a place where it can be easily removed. Richard Betts - RAB Specialist Engineers

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